Evo-Stik: Darlington 1883 sign Harrogate Railway goal machine Nathan Cartman

Harrogate Railway's Nathan Cartman has joined Darlington 1883

Harrogate Railway's Nathan Cartman has joined Darlington 1883

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Harrogate Railway’s goal machine Nathan Cartman has left the club after agreeing a move to league rivals Darlington 1883.

Cartman has become the first player ever to be sold by Railway in joining the Evo-Stik First Division North promotion favourites for an undisclosed fee.

Interest in the forward has reached new heights in recent weeks following his incredible goalscoring exploits, which have seen him celebrate 36 strikes in all competitions.

Cartman has rejected numerous offers from rival clubs since joining boss Billy Miller at Railway from Northern Counties side Liversedge three years ago.

However, the contracted striker held talks with former league club Darlington on Tuesday night and the deal was ratified on Wednesday.

“He will go with our blessing,” Miller said.

“Carts has given the club three great years at a time when we were really struggling financially.

“He has stuck to his guns, turned down offers and been really loyal.

“I hope he goes on and achieves great things.”

Cartman scored 67 goals in 132 games for Railway, with only two appearances from the substitutes’ bench and missing just one match.

This season alone he has scored 36 goals, with 29 goals in 28 league appearances.

The forward’s goalscoring exploits led Railway into the play-off zone at the turn of the year, however he failed to bag in Railway’s 0-0 draw at Warrington Town on Saturday.

Scouts from several clubs including one from the Championship and Vanarama Conference North side AFC Fylde were present in Warrington.

Miller admitted earlier this week that it was only a “matter of time” before Railway would lose their prize asset – with the bids stacking up and the money on offer increasing.

“People are offering silly money for him that will affect the rest of his life,” the manager said. “No one wants to lose him but we are not in a financial position where we can even compete with some of the figures that have been banded about.

“In his heart of hearts he wants to stay at Railway but when you hear some of the money, it’s life-changing.”

He added: “It had to be the right club, the right environment with the right ambitions.

“Darlington are a club with ambition. They have a phenomenal fan base and, like us, they have built up a loyal group.

“It’s a big, bold statement. Surely now the league is a two-horse race with them and Salford City. ”